Click for Joe Markus Obituary

**The Free Press reports that follow have two different spellings of the accused.  Schmidt and Smith.  If anyone knows the correct person's name that was accused, please email me and let me know.

Idaho County Free Press - December 3, 1914




Defendant Hit by Three Bullets in Back and Clothing Burned According to Testimony of Dr. Orr

     The preliminary of H.J. Schmidt, charged with the murder of Joe Markus, near Cottonwood on November 3, was held before L. Vineyard, justice of the peace, the hearing being commenced last Friday and ending Saturday.  The accused was held to appear before the District Court on a charge of murder and Judge Vineyard fixed his bond at $2500, which it is though he will not be able to furnish.  Wallace N. Scales appeared as counsel for the defendant.  Eight witnesses were called to testify for the state.

     Schmidt the defendant, and Joe Marcus, the deceased were members of a railroad bridge crew stationed on a siding near the rock crusher beyond Cottonwood.  The deceased was killed in one of the three cars in which the crew were housed, both Schmidt and Marcus sleeping in the same car.

     Hanson testified that Barney Marcus came and awakened him saying that Schmidt had shot his brother, where upon he went to the car where the other men bunked and found Marcus lying on the floor of the car.  He endeavored to get a blanket under Marcus but on account of the pain caused to the wounded man he had to roll him onto the blanket.  Two men were sent for medical aid to Cottonwood and Dr. Orr was called to attend to the man's wounds. 

     Dr. Orr testified as to being called to care for Marcus and that he found three wounds in the back, where three bullets had entered.  As the clothing of the deceased was burned near the place the bullets entered, Dr. Orr stated that this would indicate that the shots were fired at close range.  He also testified that the man was fatally injured and could not live and that he worked on him for twenty minutes to prepare him for the trip to Lewiston.

     Deceased's Brother Testifies

     The next witnesses put on were the men who were in the car at the time the shooting took place.  Barney Marcus, brother of the man shot, testified that he was in the car at the time of the shooting.  He said he returned from Cottonwood about 9:30 in the evening, and that his brother Joseph, returned to the car about 11:30 or perhaps a little later.  Witness said it was an arrangement in the car that the occupants should take care of the car for a week at a time in turns and this week it was his brother's turn to look after the car.  He said that when his brother arrived at the car that he came to the bed and pulled the covers and then went to the stove to lay the fire for the morning.  He said he made some noise in fixing the fire and Schmidt asked if he was looking for trouble.  Mr. Marcus testified that his brother replied that he was not but that Schmidt got up and commenced dressing and Joe Segil was also on the floor.  Witness testified that Segil wrestled a shovel from his brother and he then heard his brother say, "You are not going to shoot me, Jack?"  Witness said he then saw a revolver in Schmidt's hand and as soon as Segil broke from his brother, Schmidt shot three times and his brother fell to the floor.  He testified there had been no previous trouble between the men.

Testimony of Other Men

     William Rudeseld, the next witness testified that he was sleeping in the car at the time of the shooting and was awakened when Joe cam home and commenced working around the stove.  He stated that he heard one of the Marcus boys ask Joe to come to bed but that the deceased continued working around the stove.  He also testified that he heard Schmidt ask Marcus if he was looking after trouble and the answer that he was not.  Schmidt then told Joe to go to bed and the next thing he heard was Joe asking Schmidt if he was going to shoot.  Segil and Joe then wrestled over a shovel and when Segil got the shovel, Joe walked toward Schmidt and said "Jack," and put his arm over the defendant's shoulder and three shots followed.

     W.A. Melton, a bridge carpenter, testified that he had known both men since July and that he was sleeping in the car the night Marcus was killed, being awakened by talk between Barney and Joe Marcus, the former stating that he would throw Joe out of the car if he did not get in bed and keep still.  He testified that Joe was working around the stove and sounded as if he was intoxicated.  He said he heard Schmidt ask if he was looking for trouble and Joe replied that he was not but he then saw Joe with the shovel raised.  Witness said Segil got the shovel and he heard Joe say, "Don't shoot."  He testified that Schmidt was not making any effort to reach Marcus when the latter had the shovel raised.  

     Witness testified that he had never known Schmidt to have trouble and that Schmidt did not drink.  He said Marcus drqank a little but there had never been trouble between the men.  Witness said he had seen a knife carried by Marcus and it looked like the knife shown by the attorney for the defendant.  He testified that SEgil had this knife the morning following the shooting but he did not know where he got it.

Hearing Resumed Saturday

     This concluded Friday's work and the case was resumed on Saturday.  Peter Marcus, brother of deceased was called and testified as to the ownership of a knife alleged to have been found on the floor of the car the morning after the trouble and the witness stated that the knife was not the one which he had seen his brother carrying around that last time he had seen him.  He stated that there was no knife in his brother's clothes.

     James Smith testified as to being in the car at the time of the trouble and saw Marcus with his arm around Schmidt before he was shot.  He stated that he entered  the car first in the morning after the shooting and found the knife put is evidence lying open on the floor.  Thime, another witness was in an adjoining car and came after the shooting.  Sheriff Eimers was put on the stand and testified as to making the arrest of the accused.


Idaho County Free Press - February 11, 1915




Verdict of Not Guilty About 7:15 this Morning and Defendant Given His Freedom

     The jury in the case of the State of Idaho vs. H.J. Smith, after being out about 14 hours returned a verdict of not guilty and Smith is free.  The verdict was brought in about 7:15 this morning and the jury went to the jury room about 5:00 o'clock last night.

     The case has been followed with exceptional interest and the court room was crowded with spectators all of the time during the trial.  The case was a close one and puzzling in some ways., but the evident good appearance and the good reputation which the defendant bears were matters in his favor.  The defense set up self defense and endeavored to establish the good character of the defendant, and a quarrelsome disposition on the part of the deceased which was aggravated by the fact that he was a drinking man.

     Smith's trial was set for Monday of this week last on account of the fact that the Marcus boys, brothers of the deceased, were not present that State asked that the case be continued until Tuesday.  The brothers were in Minneapolis when last heard from and Prosecutor Hattabaugh received information that they could not arrive until Friday.

     The State was represented by M.R. Hattabaugh and B. Auger, who was entered on Monday to assist the prosecution.  Tuesday forenoon and a part of the afternoon was used in getting a jury and every name in the box was drawn out before a jury was agreed upon.  The jurymen finally selected to hear the case were William G. Hanson, T.S. McCune, Robt. Marnett, Jas. L. McHugh, Fred Collison, Peter Aschenbrenner, John F. Oliver, E.W. Barnum, Chas Sallec, J.H. Johnson, M,.I. Cross and J.D. Stanbery. 

     After the information had been read to the jury and defendant's plea stated, all of the witnesses present were sworn and excluded from the court room excepting Dr. J.B.  Morris, Dr. W.F. Orr and C.J. Vassar who were permitted to remain in the court room.  Statement of the case was  hereupon made by M.R. Hattabaugh and following him W.N. Scales made the statement for the defense and the state proceeded to introduce its testimony.

     The state put seven witnesses on the stand to establish the guilt of the defendent.  Dr. Orr of Cottonwood testified as to being called to the car on the siding near the rock crusher to minister to the man killed and as to the nature of the wounds.  Dr. Morris of Lewiston testified as to meeting the car at Lewiston which brought Marcus to that place for medical attention and also as to accompanying Marcus to St. Joseph's hospital where he died.

     John Hanson, the first man put on the stand by the state, was the foreman of the crew of which Joe Marcus and J.H. Smith, the principals in the affairs were members.  Hanson slept in a car which was next to the one in which the shooting took place and testified as to being called to the car on the night of - - - - - -unreadable- - - for Dr. Orr at Cottonwood.

     Testimony of Principal Witnesses.  The men who occupied the car in which Joe Marcus was killed were W.A. Melton, Wm. Rudseld, J.H. Smith, Jim Smith, Barney and Warner Marcus, brothers of deceased; and Joe Siegel.  Of these the Marcus brothers were unable to be present at the trial of the case, having to come from Minneapolis their home, and the state therefore had to rely on the testimony of Melton, Haybert Thine and Wm. Rudseld as its principal witnesses. 

     Wm. Rudseld, a Swede, was sleeping in the end of the car in which the Marcus brothers had their banks according to his testimony, and was awakened about the time of Joe Marcus returned to the car from Cottonwood.  He said that Marcus made some noise while preparing the fire for morning and that he heard Smith tell him to make less noise.  Marcus made some answer to Smith and then the witness stated that he heard Smith ask if he, Marcus, was looking for trouble to which Joe answered that he was not.  He then testified that Smith got out of his bunk and that Joe Siegel followed him.  Marcus then backed between the bunks holding the shovel in his hand and Siegel took the shovel away from him, according to the witness, whereupon he heard Marcus say, "you are not going to shoot me are you Jack?"  According to the witness Smith then backed into the center of the car and Joe went up and put his hands on the defendant's shoulders and then he heard three shots.

     The testimony of W.A. Melton, another occupant of the car practically substantiated the testimony of Rudseld and he was awakened by Smith and Joe Marcus talking and then the acts followed which ended in the shooting.

     The testimony of Hagbert Thine also substantiated in effect the circumstances brought out by Melton and Rudseld, and upon cross examination it was endeavored to show by Thine that Joe Marcus was quarrelsome and that he was looking for trouble among the crew.  Thine stuck to the statement that he had never had any trouble with Joe though he admitted that the deceased was somewhat quarrel some, and that he drank.  John Eimers was put on the stand and testified as to making the arrest.  The state rested and the defense put in its testimony.

Evidence of Defense

     The defense recalled John Hanson, W.A. Melton, and Hagbert Thine who were questioned with reference to whether Joe Marcus was quarrelsome, whether he drank and other particulars of this nature and also with reference to a knife which was alleged to have been found on the floor of the car the morning after the shooting by Jim Smith.

     Jim Smith, who is deaf in his left ear, and was sleeping on his good ear, according to his testimony, when awakened by the trouble between Smith and Marcus.  He stated that he saw the scuffle from the bunk and that Marcus threw his left arm around Smith's neck, and that he saw Smith reach to his hip pocket for his gun with his right hand and then he heard the three shots.  The men had their backs toward him, the witness testified and he said he did not see the gun nor did he see the knife in Marcus' hand.  He told of finding the knife in the car the next morning near a clothes locker which was not far away from where the scuffle ----unreadable--- preceded the shooting occurred and that he gave it to Siegel.  

     Joe Siegel testified as to having known the defendant from time to time, having worked with him before coming to Idaho and testified as to his being of a good character, and never touching liquor nor gambling and that he was not of quarrelsome disposition.  He then testified as to the difficulty which occurred, saying that he was sleeping in a bunk near Smith when Joe came into the car and started to make a great deal of noise.  He said that Joe first started in by daring his brother Barney to come out of the bunk in which he was sleeping using strong language and telling what he would do and that Barney tried to get him to go to bed.  Witness testified that Marcus then tipped some things over in the car and started over to the stove and made more noise when Melton Smith and he told Joe to go to bed.  That Marcus then called Smith a vile name and started towards the bunk in which Smith was sleeping with the shovel.  Siegel stated that Smith then got out of the bunk and that Marcus backed down towards the other end of the car and that he got out of bed and got between the two men, holding Marcus and taking the shovel away from him and that Joe then broke away from him and threw his down in the car, jumping over his body and throwing his arm around Smith and that the shots followed shortly thereafter.

Defendant Put on Stand

      The defendant testified that he was a bridge carpenter by occupation and formerly engaged in farming in Missouri about twelve years ago and has worked on the Burlington, Santa Fe and O.W.R. & N. railroads before coming up on the prairie.

     With reference to the trouble in the car he stated that he first heard Joe Marcus talking outside the car when he returned from Cottonwood and that he had gone to sleep and was again awakened by Marcus coming into the car.  He then testified as to Marcus having an altercation with his brother Barney, and calling him a vile name and daring his to come out of the bunk.  That the deceased then went over to the water keg and made a great deal of noise tipping things over and from there went to the stove and started to put some coal in the stove and spilled it on the floor of the car.  Smith then testified that he, Melton and Siegel then told Joe to go to bed and that Joe answered, saying "come out of that bunk you---- and I'll fix you" and that he then came towards the bunk with the shovel.  Smith said that he then got out of the bed and put on his overalls and shoes and that Joe went back towards the other end of the car and that he went towards him and told him to go to bed.

     Smith next testified that Siegel came up and stepped between them and that Sigel got the shovel out of Joe's hand and handed it to him and he threw it against the side of the car.  That Marcus then knocked Siegel down, stating that he would get him and that he came up and threw his arm around the defendant's neck and then he grabbed the hand which held the knife but that Marcus jerked his hand away and that he then reached for his gun and shot Marcus but he did not know how many times at that time.  Smith identified the knife as one he had seen in the possession of Marcus prior to the trouble but stated that he did not know at the time whether it was the knife Marcus held in his hand or not.

     Smith stated that he got the gun in ---unreadable-- there was generally considerable money in the car and that he wanted it for protection in case of a hold up of the car having heard of such an event before and that he always slept with the gun under his pillow.

     The defense then rested and after a ten minutes recess the argument for the state was opened by B. Auger, and W.N. Scales following for the defense.  M.R. Hattababugh closing the argument for the state.  The instructions were then read to the jury by the court and the jury went the their room about five o'clock.






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